Camera-equipped drones, like the one that shot the video above, are a wonderful tool for photography at the annual Burning Man festival. But "if you're planning on flying a drone at Burning Man this year," says BB pal Eddie Codel, "You'll need to register and follow a ton of new rules."
Joly sez, "Experts, activists, and makers from all over the world gathered last weekend for the first ever Drone and Aerial Robotics Conference (DARC) in NYC. One theme was miniaturization. Smaller UAVs are more agile, and less dangerous, although, as of now, they still suffer from the same FAA restrictions as their larger cousins. Another popular feature was FPV (First Person View) where flyers drive their drones via remote displays. One spectacular demo that combined both was from Eirik Solheim of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation who flew a 25 gram 3D printed $169 Micro Quadcopter out the stage's backdoor and into the backstage passages of the venue, and back. (here's video of the entire first day)"
Above, footage of a protester's quadcopter in Gezi Park getting shot down by the Turkish Police. Below, the footage of police violence the drone had been capturing (complete with music that sounds like it came out of an orc-fighting scene in the Hobbit). Ahead of us: a long, weird future history of protest.
Tuesday afternoon on June 11th 2013, Police was violently attacking peaceful protestors. Police fired guns at one of our RC drone during the protests in Taksim square, Istanbul. Police aimed directly at the camera. Due to the impact on the camera (it did have a housing) the last video was not saved properly on the SD card. The camera and drone were both broken. Managed to keep the SD card. Here is the footage from that camera! This footage you are about to see is from the prior flights minutes before the incident.
Spocko sez, "In this commercial for a cell phone screen protector product, a quadcopter flies up to some fruit, sodas and a cell phones and shoots them with a remote controlled handgun. The company, Clearplex, has many videos of it's screen protector products being shot at, so this one is a natural, although creepy, extension of that series. The video is edited so it's hard to know how accurate the quad-copter is, but consider how apparently easy creating this one was,what's the next step?"
TRAQ is a senior project from a group of Northeastern University engineering students; it's a quadcopter that seeks out and homes in on radio signals. As they write, "The quadcopter's potential applications include disaster relief, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and stolen goods recovery."
I'm interested in the technology as a way to get cameras automatically directed to hotspots in places like Gezi Park -- the drones could automatically focus on police based on their emergency radios, ensuring that the cops were always in shot.
Here's a video showing off a publicity stunt in which Domino's delivers one of its "pizzas" using a drone (and, it appears, two or three cameradrones to document the event). The "pizza" is packed in an electrified, heated bag to keep it warm during the high altitude flight. Their publicity material promises a Domino's flight academy to train their deliverator corps to safely navigate the fast-food-filled skies and prevent midair collisions with flying Chinese takeouts, kebabs, curries, and package liquor delivery.
The reviews on the Amazon page for a toy Predator drone are pretty trenchant:
You've had a busy play day - You've wiretapped Mom's cell phone and e-mail without a warrant, you've indefinitely detained your little brother Timmy in the linen closet without trial, and you've confiscated all the Super-Soakers from the neighborhood children (after all, why does any kid - besides you, of course - even NEED a Super-Soaker for self-defense? A regular water pistol should be enough). What do you do for an encore?
That's where the US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator from Maisto comes in. Let's say that Dad has been labeled a terrorist in secret through your disposition matrix. Rather than just arrest him and go through the hassle of trying and convicting him in a court of law, and having to fool with all those terrorist-loving Constitutional protections, you can just use one of these flying death robots to assassinate him! Remember, due process and oversight are for sissies. Plus, you get the added bonus of taking out potential terrorists before they've even done anything - estimates have determined that you can kill up to 49 potential future terrorists of any age for every confirmed terrorist you kill, and with the innovative 'double-tap' option, you can even kill a few terrorist first responders, preventing them from committing terrorist acts like helping the wounded and rescuing survivors trapped in the rubble. Don't let Dad get away with anti-American activities! Show him who's boss, whether he's at a wedding, a funeral, or just having his morning coffee. Sow fear and carnage in your wake! Win a Nobel Peace Prize and be declared Time Magazine's Person of the Year - Twice!
This goes well with the Maisto Extraordinary Rendition playset, by the way - which gives you all the tools you need to kidnap the family pet and take him for interrogation at a neighbor's house, where the rules of the Geneva Convention may not apply. Loads of fun! [Maurice Cobbs]
This is the best toy ever. Finally, I can pretend that I'm a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! It's like I'm sitting right there in the White House with my very own kill list! [Raini Pachak]
Researchers from GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania developed software to allow toy-sized nano quadrotors to fly in tight, precise and eerie formation. Gmoke sez, "William Gibson dreams of a mass of these things comprising a flying skyscraper. I imagine them as surveillance and policing drones ready to stop the OWS action or Arab Spring before it can start."
A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors (Thanks, Gmoke!)
These three fellows made superhero-shaped RC airplanes and buzzed New York with them, giving the city the aerial defenders it has dreamt of for so long. Much of the video was recorded with UAV cameras, which makes for dramatic footage.
Flying People in New York City (Thanks, ArbitraryAardvark!)
A Freedom of Information request reveals that aerial drones are rife with expensive technical problems.
The aerial disasters described draw attention not only to the technical limitations of drone warfare, but to larger conceptual flaws inherent in such operations. Launched and landed by aircrews close to battlefields in places like Afghanistan, the drones are controlled during missions by pilots and sensor operators—often multiple teams over many hours—from bases in places like Nevada and North Dakota. They are sometimes also monitored by “screeners” from private security contractors at stateside bases like Hurlburt Field in Florida. (A recent McClatchy report revealed that it takes nearly 170 people to keep a single Predator in the air for 24 hours.)
@BaLueBolivar snapped this picture advising NYC residents that 26th and 11th was now an Authorized Drone Strike area.